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UK industry turns out to welcome Chinese buyers

by Nicola Macdonald

VisitBritain is showcasing to the Chinese business events market why the UK should be its destination of choice for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) this week.

The national tourism agency’s inaugural ‘MeetGB China’ event, held in Edinburgh on Friday 28 September, is bringing together 27 meeting and incentives suppliers from across the UK with Chinese buyers to do business.

More than 600 one-to-one business meetings are set to take place during the event, with delegates also attending networking events, boosting their knowledge of the UK as a business events destination.

Ahead of the main event the Chinese buyers took part in educational visits across the UK.

Tourism minister Michael Ellis said: “Our culture, scenery and history are among the many reasons Chinese visitors are coming to the UK in record numbers.

“We are also home to world-class incentive travel experiences and events infrastructure and we are committed to expanding this important economic market. Through events like MeetGB China we are promoting the first-class service we provide to Chinese business visitors to help attract more international incentive groups and conferences to the UK.”

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe added: “Our inaugural MeetGB China event is a fantastic opportunity to showcase to the Chinese MICE market the outstanding quality of our meetings and incentives industry.

“It also provides suppliers and local destinations with the chance to get their meetings and incentives product in front of leading Chinese buyers and forge valuable business connections, bringing more international conferences, meetings and incentives to the UK and boosting the economy.”

MeetGB China is hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with London and Partners, VisitEngland, Visit Wales, VisitScotland and Tourism Northern Ireland, with support from the host-city Convention Edinburgh.

As part of the MeetGB China event, Chinese delegates are also attending events across the city including evening receptions at The Balmoral Hotel, the Royal Yacht Britannia, Victor and Carina Contini Restaurant as well as Edinburgh Castle and the Scotch Whisky Experience.

In the lead-up to MeetGB China, VisitBritain has published a China MICE Market Study to support the sector in understanding the characteristics of the Chinese meetings and incentives market.

There were a record 61,000 business visits to the UK from China last year, up 31 per cent on 2016 with business visitors spending a record £117m.

VisitBritain promotes business events worldwide under Events are GREAT, part of the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. Events are GREAT drives awareness of Britain’s destinations and products, highlighting its history of research, innovation and high-quality infrastructure, positioning it as a leading destination for business events.

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